GOP wanted hero pilot in CongressUPI
October 02, 2009
WASHINGTON, Oct. 2 (UPI) -- Republican officials wanted the pilot who safely landed a disabled jetliner in New York’s Hudson River to run for Congress in California, The Hill reports.
Multiple sources told The Hill that GOP leaders tried unsuccessfully to recruit US Airways Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, a registered Republican, to run against U.S. Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Calif., next year. Sullenberger, 58, is from Danville, which is in McNerney’s district.
The business manager for Sullenberger said he was not interested, the Washington publication reported.
"Capt. Sullenberger has repeatedly stated that he has no desire to run for office," said Alex Clemens, a San Francisco publicist representing the pilot.
Sullenberger ditched the jetliner into the river Jan. 15 after the aircraft lost power. All 155 people on board survived the harrowing incident.
The Hill said Republicans, led by Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Rep. Sam Johnson, R-Texas, hoped a Sullenberger candidacy could help them retake the House seat. Joanna Burgos, a spokeswoman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, said Sullenberger was on a list of a dozen potential candidates.
"We cast a pretty wide net in the beginning, and I think he was a pretty obvious person to chat with," she said.
At least eight Republicans are running against McNerney.
Coincidentally, Sullenberger Thursday flew the same route he was to have taken Jan. 15. Passengers applauded when Sullenberger’s voice came over the intercom, it was reported.